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Dangers at Home: Poison Prevention Week in MN

PHOTO: Among the newer concerns this National Poison Prevention Week are concentrated laundry pods, which often have bright colors and can be mistaken by young children as candy. In addition to the ingestion risk, they can lead to eye injuries from squirting out when bitten into. Photo credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission/Flickr.
PHOTO: Among the newer concerns this National Poison Prevention Week are concentrated laundry pods, which often have bright colors and can be mistaken by young children as candy. In addition to the ingestion risk, they can lead to eye injuries from squirting out when bitten into. Photo credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission/Flickr.
March 16, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. - This is National Poison Prevention Week and local experts say some simple steps around the home can help reduce the chances of accidental poisoning, especially among children. Poisoning is the leading cause of death from injuries in the U.S.

Kirk Hughes, education director with the Minnesota Poison Control System, says while everyone is at risk, those most often affected are kids under age six, so any products that could be dangerous should be kept out of reach or locked up.

"The most common exposure is getting into medications, whether that's over-the-counter or prescription medications," says Hughes. "Of course, these can represent a more serious outcome. Coming to springtime here, obviously we're going to have lots of fertilizers and pesticides, and all that sort of thing."

Among the newer concerns, explains Hughes, are e-cigarettes, with their flavored liquid nicotine, and laundry pods, which often have bright colors and can be mistaken by young children as candy.

In the case of a poisoning, Hughes says the person should not drink water or milk or try to make themselves throw up, which can make things worse depending on what's been ingested. Instead, he says, they should immediately call the poison hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

"If you call us from the home setting, we can keep you at home 92 percent of the time because of our expertise, and then do appropriate follow-ups in the home setting, if that's necessary," he says.

More than two-million poisonings are reported each year to the dozens of poison control centers in the U.S. with more than 90 percent occurring in the home.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN